The Best Substitutes for Coriander

Coriander is a citrusy spice that’s wonderful in a number of savory dishes. If you don’t happen to have it, however, these swaps are your best bet.

Whole coriander seeds on a plate.
Alison Bickel

If a recipe calls for coriander and you’re out of it, don’t sweat it. Here are a few reliable substitutes.

Coriander vs Cilantro

First, it’s important to clear up any confusion that may arise between “coriander” and “cilantro,” both of which actually come from the same plant. 

In the United States, coriander refers to the seed or the seed in ground form, both of which are used as a spice, while cilantro refers to the fresh green leaves, which are used as an herb. 

In the United Kingdom, however, coriander refers to the fresh herb. If referring the spice, coriander seed or ground coriander is specified. 

Here, we’ll be referring to the U.S. terminology.

Small ramekins filled with ground fennel, cumin, and caraway
Alison Bickel

Substitutes for Coriander Seed

The flavor of coriander seeds, in whole or ground form, is unique. They are citrusy and floral, with a mellow, earthy sweetness. There’s nothing quite like it, but if you don’t have coriander seeds, fennel, cumin, and caraway are the three best spices to substitute.

You can use just one of these spices as an equal substitute, or use a combination of two or three. 

Ramikens with ground coriander and whole coriander set next to each other.
Alison Bickel

How to Substitute Ground Coriander for Coriander Seeds

If your recipe calls for coriander seeds and you only have ground coriander on hand, you can use 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander for every 1 teaspoon coriander seeds. 

If your recipe calls for ground coriander and you only have coriander seeds, simply grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to achieve the amount you need.